Tory MP urges 20-year ban for migrants who abuse visas

Airport arrivals sign Mark Pritchard said there had been unprecedented abuse of visas in recent years

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Migrants who abuse their visa status should be barred from entering the UK again for 20 years, a MP has said.

Conservative Mark Pritchard said there had been "unprecedented" abuse of the system that needed to be tackled.

Non-EU migrants who overstay their visas must "regularise" their status by April 2014 or face sanctions, he said.

Anyone who complies would still be deported but would be able to apply to re-enter the UK after a year, he told MPs during a debate on immigration.

Mr Pritchard put forward the idea during a debate in Parliament on the end of work restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants from the end of this year.

'Social change'

The debate was triggered by an online petition, signed by more than 100,000 people, calling for existing controls on what work migrants from the two countries can do once in the UK to be extended.

The MP for The Wrekin said immigration was part of the UK's "national narrative" and had brought major economic benefits in both rural and urban areas.

However, he said it had resulted in "rapid social change" and the UK public had been constantly "misinformed and misled" by the authorities about its impact on communities and on public services such as hospitals, schools and housing.

Start Quote

Those who continue to abuse their status will receive a sanction”

End Quote Mark Pritchard Conservative MP

He called for all non-EU migrants who have overstayed their visas - including students and family dependants - to be required to declare their status to the authorities within a year.

While all those living in the UK illegally should be deported, he said those who co-operated should be given the opportunity to return to the UK after a year.

"Those who regularise their status will be rewarded," he said. "Those who continue to abuse their status will receive a sanction."

What he was proposing was "not an amnesty" but "hard-headed sanctions" that would incentivise people to declare themselves to the authorities, he stressed.

All parties have been reconsidering their immigration policies before the end of so-called transitional controls on Bulgaria and Romanian workers - amid a growing acknowledgement that the UK failed to anticipate levels of immigration from Eastern Europe after the EU was enlarged in 2004.

Security bonds

The government is considering what access migrant workers should have to the NHS and the benefits system in future.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called for cash deposits of more than £1,000 for visa applicants from "high-risk" countries, to be repaid when they leave the UK, while Labour has called for tougher sanctions for employers who exploit foreign workers.

The government has been criticised for not publishing estimates about the number of Bulgarians and Romanians likely to be coming to the UK.

The Bulgarian ambassador to London has said the end of restrictions is likely to have a limited impact and warned about "hostile propaganda" over the issue.

Speaking in Monday's debate, Labour MP Keith Vaz said the previous government had made mistakes over immigration and Parliament must show it could debate the issue in an "open and transparent way" and not let "fringe parties take control" of the subject.

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    10:51: 'More power, more flexibility' BBC News Channel
    Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds

    "It's young people who are most affected by this housing crisis," says Labour's shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds. She says her party would give local councils "more power, more flexibility to stop land banking - where developers sit on land - and to directly commission house building in their area". On the subject of Labour's 200,000 homes-a-year target, she adds: "We'd love to get there sooner than 2020 but we don't want to make promises we cant keep."

     
  84.  
    10:48: 'Barmy army cuts' BBC News Channel

    Conservative MP Col Bob Stewart says he agrees with fears raised by US Army Chief of Staff Gen Raymond Odierno on the impact of spending cuts on the UK's armed forces. Col Stewart says he thinks it is "barmy" to consider reducing defence spending when the UK faces the threats it does. He also alluded to "disturbing rumours" that the Army may see further cuts again soon.

    General Odierno told the Daily Telegraph further cuts could see British units operating within US ranks, rather than divisions working alongside each other. Col Stewart said the idea was "certainly workable" but would be mean "loss of influence" for the UK.

     
  85.  
    @fergalkeane47 Fergal Keane, BBC special correspondent

    tweets: Tonight on @BBCPanorama I'll be arguing that love is the biggest political idea of all

    Our correspondent has also written a piece about the politics of love. You can read it here.

     
  86.  
    10:38: Public-private North Sea deals

    Some more on Gordon Brown's speech in Glasgow on North Sea oil fields later. BBC Scotland writes that Mr Brown will back the idea of public-private ownership deals, saying they could be the solution for those fields that are under threat of being mothballed. More here.

     
  87.  
    10:35: Your thoughts

    What is the solution to England's housing problem? Do you think any of the parties have the answer? Tweet us your thoughts @bbcpolitics or email politics@bbc.co.uk and we'll include some on Politics Live.

     
  88.  
    10:33: Housing analysis Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Affordable housing - or the lack of it - is such a big issue for so many people, and there is huge pressure on the parties to find some credible plans to build more houses.

    David Cameron will say this afternoon that the Conservatives would build 200,000 starter homes by 2020. That will be paid for by waiving the fees which developers at the moment have to pay to local authorities and reducing the obligation to build social housing.

    There is a political issue here, though, that all three big parties have to face. It's easy for politicians to say at a national level, 'Yes, let's build more houses,' but in the local areas, when it comes to their own constituencies, MPs tend to be much more resistant to development.

     
  89.  
    10:21: Louis vs Ed: the real power struggle?
    Louis Tomlinson

    Who is the most powerful person in Doncaster? According to the Doncaster Free Press, it's not Labour leader Ed Miliband. The paper has published its "Power List" and concludes the local mayor, a council official and Louis Tomlinson from One Direction are more powerful in the South Yorkshire town than the man who could have the keys to 10 Downing Street come May. The Telegraph has more.

     
  90.  
    @SkyNewsBen Ben Sutcliffe, Sky News, news editor

    tweets: The PM about to learn bricklaying

    David Cameron visiting a building site in Essex
     
  91.  
    @the_tpa TaxPayers' Alliance

    tweets: No need to worry, guys, we've fixed it for you.

    tweet of altered government posted
     
  92.  
    10:10: 'No legal aid reversal'
    Sadiq Khan

    Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice minister, has been speaking about his party's plans for legal reform if they win the election. He says Labour intends to repeal restrictions on judicial review and make it easer to challenge government decisions. But he admits the party cannot reverse cuts to legal aid. More here.

     
  93.  
    @michaelsavage Michael Savage, Times chief political correspondent

    tweets: Where are properties that would be hit by the #mansiontax? Estate agents @knightfrank have done some work:

    Chart showing where properties would be hit with a mansion tax
     
  94.  
    09:59: 'Save Dave'

    Could David Cameron stay as Tory leader if the Conservatives fail to win a majority at the election? According to the Daily Mail, Conservatives are drawing up plans to protect Mr Cameron's position as long as Labour do not secure a decisive victory. George Osborne and Michael Gove are the figures the newspaper says will look to form a "protective ring" around Mr Cameron. Read the report here.

     
  95.  
    @faisalislam Faisal Islam, @SkyNews Political Editor

    tweets: So... Housing policy. A graveyard for both main parties in recent years, despite all manner of policy wheezes...

     
  96.  
    09:53: Housing reforms BBC News Channel
    Henry Gregg

    Henry Gregg, from the National Housing Federation, has been speaking about plans to build new starter homes. He said his body welcomes that the Conservatives are recognising "the scale of the housing crisis", but he was concerned money could be taken away from affordable rent budgets. He added: "What we need is more money for homes than are being built for renters, but also homes that are being built for first-time buyers."

     
  97.  
    @jameswhartonmp James Wharton, MP for Stockton South

    tweets: Quite a clever way to get MPs' attention pre budget from @droptheduty to send a whisky miniature in the post!

    Bottle of whisky promoting a cut in duty
     
  98.  
    09:36: 'Looking for a new saviour' The Daily Mail

    Today presenter John Humphrys has written for the Daily Mail on the influence smaller parties and voters in seaside towns are likely to have on the election. He writes: "From Clapton to Cleethorpes, the seaside towns of the east coast appear to be looking for a new saviour. And that saviour may well be clad in UKIP colours." More here.

     
  99.  
    @AndrewSparrow Andrew Sparrow, writer of the Guardian's Politics Live blog

    tweets: A seat projection round-up - All suggest Lab + others cd block Tory Queen's Speech, but not vice versa

     
  100.  
    09:27: Blunkett: 'I wish I'd been more diplomatic' The Daily Telegraph

    The Telegraph is interviewing a number of MPs who are standing down at the election. Today, former home secretary David Blunkett reveals how much of an impact his blindness had on his career, saying it had an effect on the way he interacted with colleagues . And he tells the website he wishes he had been more "diplomatic" - "I wasn't good with colleagues in cabinet," he says. More here.

     

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